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The mediating role of relative communicative behavior on the relationship between ethical leadership and organizational identification

Hassan Abu Bakar (Othman Yeop Abudullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia)
Leah Omillion-Hodges (School of Communication, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 7 January 2020

Issue publication date: 27 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the underlying process of a relative leader–member dyadic communication behavior linking association between ethical leadership and organizational identification in Malaysia’s diverse workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on relational dyadic communication, social comparison and social identity theories, the authors develop a mediation model. The model illustrates the link between the relative leader–member dyadic communication behavior processes, ethical leadership and organizational identification. The model was tested on a sample of 273 group members from 58 groups working in large government link corporations in Malaysia.

Findings

Results of hierarchical regression analysis provide support for the model. The authors found that ethical leadership was positively related to relative leader–member dyadic communication behavior based on the norms and values of budi context. Budi is a social norm in the Malaysian context that helps employees to know how they should interact with others. Budi is manifested through the use of language and should be used or present in the interactions or conversations with others.

Originality/value

The relative shared norms and values of budi mediate the relationship between ethical leadership and organizational identification after controlling for the perception of individual leader–member dyadic communication behavior on norms and values of budi.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

A previous version of this paper was presented at the 69th International Communication Association Annual Conference. The authors would like to thank Professor Martin McCracken and the reviewers of this paper for their many helpful comments. The work described in this paper was supported by research grants from Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (Project No. 14181).

Citation

Abu Bakar, H. and Omillion-Hodges, L. (2020), "The mediating role of relative communicative behavior on the relationship between ethical leadership and organizational identification", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 52-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-04-2019-0190

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited